Ursula, design by Rafael Castanera

The six tentacles that attached to Ursula’s belt were all constructed of foam board. Four of these tentacles are identical and were made to rest stop/curve over a foam hip pad she wore beneath her skirt. The two tentacles on her back go up instead of down and were shaped such that they curved into her back more and would be more balanced.

Once the foam core was constructed, I first covered all of the tentacles in purple spandex, followed by the sequin material. We were running very short of the sequin material, which also had very little stretch. I had to piece the material on mosaic-style on all of the eight tentacles.

To accentuate the ridges on the tentacles, I painted purple shadowing beneath each ridge then applied lines of rhinestones along the tops of the ridges. I later added additional rhinestones and broken mirror bits to match the broken glass of her bodice and skirt.

The suction cups were covered buttons which were simply glued to the bottoms of the tentacles.

For the bottom of the tentacles, I created a pattern and traced it out of oak tag poster board. These patterns were approximately 1/4" smaller all the way around than the actual bottoms of the tentacles. Once these pieces were cut from the oak tag, I covered them in the rainbow spandex using spray adhesive and then applied them to the bottoms of the tentacles.

This is a piece (also made of covered oak tag) I made to cover the exposed white portion of the tentacles that would be resting on the hips. These pieces also covered/further secured the ribbon tabs that secured the tentacles to the belt.

Here you can see the tabs that allowed the tentacles to be fastened to the belt, covered by then oak tag pieces covered in black fabric.

I covered the belting in the same purple spandex and sequin material as I did the tentacles. The tentacles were spaced on the actress’s body during fittings, and the tentacles were permanently attached via the ribbon tabs. The belt closed with two large pavarotti hooks in the front, as the back was inaccessible once the tentacles were attached.

These are the arm tentacles, which were ultimately shortened to about 8" pieces to allow the actress more mobility.

Ursula’s Tentacle (Dancer), design by Rafael Castanera

These tentacles were constructed exactly the same as Ursula’s. I covered the skullcaps in faux black leather and added a black feather appliqué to match the appliqués used on the petticoat of Ursula’s skirt and on Flotsam and Jetsam’s headpieces.

Amy Jo Jackson as Ursula and Katie Emerson as Ariel at photo call

Ursula and Tentacle Dancers

I was largely responsible for the construction of Ursula’s tentacles, six of which attached to a belt and 2 of which attached to armbands atop her gloves. I also constructed the headpieces for the dancers who played her enchanted tentacles during “magic” moments.

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”